Roger L. Simon

Adam Bellow...

… who knows whereof he speaks… writes of nepotism, cronyism, Bush, Kennedy and Miers.

Which brings us to the Bushes. People have been trying to figure out what kind of bubble the Bushes live in for a long time. But it is not the cocoon of wealth that insulates them from reality and explains their frequent missteps and tone-deaf remarks, but that of family itself. The problem for W is that the ethic of friendship and loyalty that the Bushes cultivate and that brought him to power is threatening now to bring him down. He has made the common dynastic mistake of confusing loyalty and merit; in his eyes, the merit of people like Michael Brown and Harriet Miers consists in their being his friends. They are loyal to him, and their loyalty must be rewarded. Thus in Bush, the very loyalty that was a private virtue has become a public vice. His greatest failing is his inability to hold people accountable for their errors. Because they are his creatures, he seems unable to disown them or even to see their faults. This is an inexcusable failing in a democratic leader. As the Machiavellian FDR would be the first to acknowledge, aristocratic virtues have no place in the modern executive. For while Americans do love a prince, they want nothing to do with a king.